I was never really a Doors fan. Apart from the crucial placement of “The End” in the opening sequence of “Apocalypse Now” and maybe the funky riff of the ridiculously-titled “Peace Frog,” they were never my particular cup of tea. I mean, I don’t scramble to turn them off whenever they frequently come on the radio, but I just never bought the whole “Jim Morrison is a shaman!” bullshit. I mean, I recognize that they were a sizable influence on many a band I hold dear – from The Stooges to the Stranglers to The Cult and beyond – but something about The Doors tends to grate after a while. To me, anyway.
That all said, I was indeed bummed to learn earlier this week of the death of Doors organist Ray Manzarek, whose unapologetically noodley keys largely defined the band’s sound. Not only was Ray’s playing a massive influence on the afore-cited Stranglers, the man was instrumental in honing the attack of the preeminent Los Angeleno punk band X over the course of their first few seminal albums, which he produced (and occasionally played on). He also seemed like a pretty cool cat. Click here to read what the members of X had to say about the man.
Upon learning of his passing, an old college friend of mine posted the video below, an officially released video for “Strange Days.” Not sure when it was filmed, but obviously after ol’ Jimbo took that final, fateful bath. Interspersed between archival band footage, we see some freaky hijinx filmed in suitable surreal style on the streets of New York, notably in the cover location of the album in question, Sniffen Court up in the seemingly incongruous environs of East 36th Street. I took that shot of it above at some point in the mid 90’s. It still looks much the same today.